Oconee County, South Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Oconee County, South Carolina ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Walhalla
Organized: January 29, 1868[1]
Parent County(s): Pickens[2]
Neighboring Counties
Anderson  • Franklin (GA)  • Habersham (GA)  • Hart (GA)  • Jackson (NC)  • Macon (NC)  • Pickens  • Rabun (GA)  • Stephens(GA)  • Transylvania (NC)
See County Maps
South Carolina, Oconee County Courthouse.png
Location Map

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named from the Cherokee word "Ae-quo-nee" meaning "land beside the water." Oconee was a local Cherokee town that was situated on the main British/Cherokee trading path between Charleston and the Mississippi River in the early 18th century. The County is located in the northwest location of the state.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Oconee County Courthouse
205 West Main Street
Walhalla, SC 29691
Phone: 864-916-7306
Oconee County Website

County Pronunciation
Hear it spoken[4]

Oconee County, South Carolina Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1915 1911 1915 1868 1868 1868 1790
* Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1915. General compliance by 1918.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[8]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Oconee County, South Carolina online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See South Carolina Cemeteries for more information.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

For all existing and online Federal population schedules of South Carolina, see South Carolina Census. See also USGenWeb Census Project, South Carolina, including links to transcribed files.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 10,536
1880 16,256 54.3%
1890 18,687 15.0%
1900 23,634 26.5%
1910 27,337 15.7%
1920 30,117 10.2%
1930 33,368 10.8%
1940 36,512 9.4%
1950 39,050 7.0%
1960 40,204 3.0%
1970 40,728 1.3%
1980 48,611 19.4%
1990 57,494 18.3%
2000 66,215 15.2%
2010 74,273 12.2%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]


  • Shoal Creek - records (1796-1853) available on microfilm at University of NC Davis Library (Serial 1-1274).


  • The Old Stone Church, Oconee County, South Carolina. Columbia, S.C.?: Old Stone Church and Cemetery Association with cooperation of the Andrew Pickens and Cateechee Chapters, D.A.R., 1905. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Online Court Indexes and Records

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

African Americans
United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png African American Resources for South Carolina

  • Megginson, W.J. Black Soldiers in World War I: Anderson, Pickens and Oconee Counties, South Carolina; with a Discussion of Pensions for Civil War Slave Labor. Seneca, S.C.: Oconee County Historical Society, 1994. FHL Book 975.72 M2m

Known plantations South Carolina Plantations:

  • Florideville
  • Seneca
  • Westville

Native American

  • Seaborn, Margaret Mills. From 1730 through 1776, Cherokee Indian Towns of Oconee County, South Carolina: With Principal Paths. n.p.: n.p., 1974. Map. FHL 975.721 E7sm

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • [Ballenger] Knox, John Ballenger. The Ballenger Family of Oconee County, South Carolina. Seneca, S.C.: Grady Woodfin Ballenger, [1956]. FHL Book 929.273 B212k
  • [Beck] Koyle, Susan Lewis and Patricia Lewis Cramer. Ancestors and Descendants of Colonel Samuel Beck and Tabitha Langston. 1997. FHL Book 929.273 B388k, film 2055371 Item 1; digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • [Cain] Malone, James T. and Royleta Clopton Malone. William Cain Sr. and His Descendants 1795-2000: With Allied Lines of Murdock, Gibson, Cole and Others, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma. Hemet, Calif.: J.T. Malone, 2001. FHL 929.273 C123mj, film 1440386 Item 7
  • [Davis] Mentzel, Laura W. Davis Families of the Savannah River Valley: Containing a Record of the Descendants of Van and Harmon Davis from 1725-1978, Covering the Counties of Newberry, Anderson, Pickens, Oconee Counties of South Carolina; Habersham, Franklin, Hart, Stephens, Polk, Paulding, Gwinnett Counties of Georgia. Salt Lake City, Utah: Hobby Press, 1978. FHL Book 929.273 D29mL, fiche 6100901 (6 fiche)
  • [Gilmer] Walker, Robert B. Our Family Genealogy. Typescript. Microfilmed 1960. FHL film 209590 Item 4
  • [Grant] Grant, Bishop Franklin (Mrs.). Grant Family of South Carolina. Typescript. FHL film 219477 Item 4
  • [Hair] Hair, Thomas Lee. The Long Journey, a Family History, 1687-1991: Embracing an Account of the Arrivals, Movements, and Ultimate Dispersal of the Southern Branches and Descendants of Eleven Allied Families: Adams, Ballenger, Cleveland, Duke, Hair, Harbin, Lewis, Lyles, O'Kelley, Trail, Ward. Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Company Publishers, 1992. FHL Book 929.273 H127hL
  • [Hunter] Hunter, Raymond E. The Hunters and Related Families in the Southeastern United States. Augusta, Ga.: R.E. Hunter, 1990. FHL Book 929.273 H916hr
  • [Queen] Russell, Jerry Franklin. Red-Redd, Russell, Powell. MSS., 1989. FHL 1697474 Item 13
  • [Shedd] Campbell, A.G. Those Other Trapps: Including Some Allied Persons. [Alpine, Calif.]: A.G. Campbell, 1992. FHL Book 929.273 T689ca, film 1750738 Item 25

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Because South Carolina was an agricultural state, many residents owned land. For earliest records, search 1) Charleston District, 2) your ancestor’s residential district, 3) neighboring districts, 4) the residential county, 5) neighboring counties. Not all districts and counties kept records. See also South Carolina Land and Property.

Online Land Indexes and Records
The following chart show where you may best expect to find land records.

Tracing Land Currently in Oconee County with Parent Counties and Districts [9]
Date Government Office
1868-present Oconee County
1826-1868 Pickens District
1800-1826 Pendleton District
1795-1800 Pendleton County in Washington District
1789-1795 Pendleton County in Ninety-Six District
1769-1789 Ninety-Six District
1719-1769 Charleston District
1710-1719 Proprietary Land Grants

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • History of old Pendleton District with a genealogy of the leading families of the district
  1. 1913 version FHL Book 975.72 H2s 1913, fiche 6010898 (1 fiche), FHL Book 975.72 H2s index
  2. 1978 version FHL Book 975.72 H2s 1978a, fiche 6010898 (1 fiche), FHL Book 975.72 H2s index

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Macon CountyJackson CountyTransylvania CountyRabun CountyHabersham CountyStephens CountyFranklin CountyHart CountyAnderson CountyPickens CountySC OCONEE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Oconee County for European settlers included:[10], and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast, 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) ▲ [11]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

French and Indian War

  • "Garrison at Ft. Prince George, 1756, Keowee," Tulsa Annals, January 1973, Volume 8, Issue 1. Tulsa Genealogical Society: Tulsa, OK. FHL 40544

War of 1812

  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Book 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. See Vol. 5, South Carolina, Oconee County, p. 187. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.

South Carolina State Militia

  • Holder, Frederick C.; South Carolina (State) Militia, 2nd Regiment; South Carolina (State) Militia, 5th Regiment; Oconee County Historical Society (Oconee County, South Carolina). The Bailey A. Barton Muster Roll Book of Pickens District, South Carolina [1858]. Seneca, S.C.: Oconee County Historical Society, 1990. FHL Collection Book 975.723 M2b; Film 1697757 item 12. Reviewed in The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 91, No. 4 (Oct. 1990):280-281. Digital version of review at JSTOR ($). Covers present Pickens and Oconee counties.

Civil War

Regiments. Oconee County was created in 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. Men living in the area of what is now Oconee County may have served in regiments from Pickens District/County.

- 1st Battalion, South Carolina Cavalry, Company F
- 1st Regiment, South Carolina Rifles (Orr's), Company A (also known as Kowee Riflemen), Company C (also known as Mountain Boys), Company E (also known as Oconee Riflemen), and Company F (also known as Blue Ridge Rifles)
- 2nd Regiment, South Carolina Rifles, Company B and Company C
- 10th Battalion, South Carolina Cavalry, Company B

Other Resources

  • Bell, Louise Matheson. Rebels in Grey: Soldiers from Pickens District, 1861-1865 ( Seneca, S.C.: Greys of Oconee Chapter No. 1783, United Daughters of the Confederacy, ©1984), 172 pages. Concerns Pickens and Oconee Counties. WorldCat 11859701.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

The Library of Congress has identified the following historic newspapers for Oconee County, South Carolina on their Chronicling America website. For publication details, including dates of publication, frequency, preceding and succeeding titles, and to find out which libraries have holdings, click on the newspaper title.

University of South Carolina Library Catalog

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers new to their area may not encounter. Periodicals at various levels (county, region, and state) may carry articles useful to research in this area. For more information and links, see South Carolina Periodicals.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Various types of records are created throughout the probate process of settling estates and property, usually after death. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. For further information see probate records in South Carolina Probate Records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Tax-related records are kept by the offices of the county Assessor, Auditor, Sheriff, and Treasurer. Taxes were levied on real and personal property and can help establish ages, residences, and relationships. See South Carolina Taxation for online resources and suggestions.

Online Tax Indexes and Records

  • South Carolina Department of Archives and History tax lists for Oconee County.

Published abstracts

  • 1864 Internal Revenue Assessment, 1864, Old Pendleton District Newsletter, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Mar. 2009).

To see how the Civil War financially impacted residents of Oconee County, South Carolina, compare values of real and personal estates on the 1860 Census, with 1866-1867 tax records:

  • 1866-1867 Rich, Peggy Burton and Margarette Gibbs Ogle. Pickens District, South Carolina 1866 Tax List, January 1, 1866- January 1, 1867. n.p.: South Carolina Genealogical Society. Old Pendleton Chapter, 1991. FHL Book 975.72 R4r

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriage, and death records were not recorded by South Carolina until the 1900s, thus leaving a lack of vital records created by Civil authorities. See South Carolina Vital Records for online resources and suggestions.

Birth[edit | edit source]

State-wide birth registration did not begin until 1915. For records after 1915, see the South Carolina Vital Records page.

Birth Substitutes - Indexes

Marriage[edit | edit source]

In South Carolina, Probate Courts issued and still keep marriage licenses from 1 July 1911 to the present. Licenses were not required before 1911. In the 1700s, the Church of England parish churches were required to record all marriages - even if the couple were not members of the denomination. Statewide registration of marriages started in July, 1950. See South Carolina Vital Records for indexes and more information.

Online Marriage Records and Indexes

Death[edit | edit source]

State-wide death registration began in 1915. For information and online records, see the South Carolina Vital Records page.

Online Death Records and Indexes

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Oconee County. For state-wide library facilities, see South Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Oconee County. For state-wide library facilities, see South Carolina Archives and Libraries.

Oconee County Public Library'The library has a South Carolina History/Local Genealogy collection housed at the main library in Walhalla. Holdings include family histories, historical maps, cemetery listings and indexes, biographies of noted South Carolinians, and the local newspapers on microfilm.Website

Items in the collection cannot be circulated or loaned to other libraries.The Library lacks sufficient staff to do research, nor do they respond to letters from persons requesting such services. Names and addresses of persons in the area who do research for a fee can be provided when such a person is known, However, staff may do limited searching when good information is provided. Costs to cover photocopying and postage are ($)5.00 per name searched.

  • Walhalla Main Library
    501 West South Broad Street
    Walhalla, SC 29691
    Telephone: 864-638-4133
    FAX: 864-638-4132
    Hours: Monday/Tuesday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Wednesday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Sundays (Sept. - May) 2 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Salem Library
    5-B Park Avenue
    Salem, SC 29676
    Telephone: 864-944-0912
    Hours: Monday 10:00 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday CLOSED
  • Seneca Library
    300 E. S. Second Street
    Seneca, SC 29678
    Telephone: 864-882-4855
    Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday CLOSED
  • Westminster Library
    112 W. North Avenue
    Westminster, SC 29693
    Telephone: 864-647-3215
    Hours: Monday 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Tuesday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Sunday CLOSED

Museums[edit | edit source]

Oconee Heritage Center
123 Browns Square Drive
P.O. Box 395
Walhalla, SC 29691
Telephone: (864) 638-2224
Email: info@oconeeheritagecenter.org
Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 5pm (and by special Appointment).
The Oconee Heritage Center (OHC) brings history back to life through museum exhibits, educational programs, festivals ,and more. Among other things visitors explore the history of Native Americans, Immigration, Railroads, New Deal Programs, Textile Mills, and Agriculture as it relates to Oconee County.Website

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Oconee County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see South Carolina Societies.

Old Pendleton District includes Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. South Carolina Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  2. South Carolina Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  3. "Oconee County, South Carolina" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oconee_County,_South_Carolina." accessed 27/06/2019
  4. Voice of Phillip Stalvey, resident of Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2011).
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Oconee County, South Carolina. Page 611-615 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 607-608.
  6. South Carolina Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), South Carolina .At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Oconee County, South Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oconee_County,_South_Carolina, accessed 28 December 2019.
  9. Schweitzer, George K. , South Carolina Genealogical Research (Knoxville, Tennessee: s.p. 1985), 39-42, FHL book 975.7 D27s
  10. WorldCat 50140092 FHL Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)
  11. WorldCat 1523234.
  12. William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) ▲ WorldCat 1523234.
  13. Revill, Janie, Abstract of Marriages and Deaths from the Pendleton Messenger, 1826- 1848, the Keowee Courier, 1857-1871, [S.I.]: [s.n.], 1933-1936.
  14. Elliot, Colleen M., The Keowee Courier, 1849-1851, 1857-1861 and 1865-1868, Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, c1979.
  15. South Carolina. Probate Court (Oconee County), Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2004.
  16. Revill, Janie, Abstract of Marriages and Deaths from the Pendleton Messenger, 1826- 1848, the Keowee Courier, 1857-1871, [S.I.]: [s.n.], 1933-1936.
  17. Elliot, Colleen M., The Keowee Courier, 1849-1851, 1857-1861 and 1865-1868, Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, c1979.